On Tuesday, the Victoria territory in Australia passed a bill to criminalize the public display of the Nazi swastika.
Gaining bipartisan support, the Summary Offences Amendment (Nazi Symbol Prohibition) Bill 2022 states that anyone who intentionally displays the Nazi symbol in public could face penalties of up to almost 22,000 Australian dollars in fines, 12 months imprisonment, or both when the legislation comes into effect in six months.
This being said, the bill will specifically ban the display of the Nazi swastika, recognizing the cultural and religious significance of the symbol for Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, and other faith communities, which include those who hold it as a sacred symbol of peace and good fortune.
The passing of the bill was a result of the persistent efforts of the Anti-Defamation Commission – which led a five-year campaign to ban the public displays of Nazi swastikas in Australia. ADC’s Chairman Dvir Abramovich attended the bill’s passage in the Legislative Council of the Victorian Parliament.
“We have toiled for years to reach this glorious and hard-won moment of victory, and this fateful day is the culmination of a long and faithful struggle to defeat the forces of evil who seek not only to break our spirits but to instill fear,” Abramovich said in a statement.
He described the bill as a tribute “to our valiant diggers who fought to vanquish Hitler, the six million Jews and millions of victims murdered by the Third Reich, and the triumphant survivors who rebuilt their lives here.” He also said its passage “reminded us that at a time when our politics are sharply polarized, we can come together across our differences to stand for justice, dignity, and equality.”
“As our nation confronts the deep stain of a resurgent white-supremacist movement that peddles a dangerous and dehumanizing agenda, this parliament has declared that the symbol of Nazism will never find a safe harbor in our state.”